WBOC's 65th Anniversary: Ocean City's Transformation - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

WBOC's 65th Anniversary: Ocean City's Transformation

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This building on South Division Street once served African Americans staying in Ocean City during segregation. (Photo: WBOC) This building on South Division Street once served African Americans staying in Ocean City during segregation. (Photo: WBOC)

OCEAN CITY, Md.- Even though Ocean City was around before WBOC first went on the air in 1954, the popular Maryland resort town underwent a lot of significant changes during the 1950s, making it the place it is today. 

Hunter "Bunk" Mann, who has written two books about Ocean City's history, said it was once a ghost town. 

"And they had a saying in Ocean City, that you could 'fire a cannon down the boardwalk and not hit a soul.'"

But that all changed when the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was completed in 1952, connecting the urban Western Shore with the rural Eastern Shore, giving motorists easier access to Ocean City. 

"It doubled the population of the town for the rest of that year and then a couple years after that, the motels came in," Mann said.

It was the construction of multiple motels that served as a turning page for Ocean City's economy, according to Mann. He said more motels meant more restaurants, giving people more reasons to want to visit the town.

"The first thing I can always remember is the smell of the ocean," he said. "We would come over the Route 50 bridge and the smell of cheeseburgers on the grill, the caramel popcorn, the french fries, the cotton candy."

And that smell of delicious food drifting through the air is not the only thing that has remained in Ocean City. A building previously known as Henry's "Colored" Hotel still sits along South Division Street. It was a place where African Americans stayed while visiting Ocean City during segregation. 

Over the years a lot has changed and Mann says he is fortunate to spread Ocean City's history and his memories with others. 

Both of Mann's books detailing Ocean City's history can be found at the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum. 

(Photo: WBOC)
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